Palmer police identify man armed with knife that led to lockdown - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Palmer police identify man armed with knife that led to lockdown at schools

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(Western Mass News photos) (Western Mass News photos)

A man from Palmer is facing multiple charges after a violent incident forced local schools into a lockdown Friday. Police say he is currently being held on $50,000 bail. 

John Leo Girouard, 31, from Thorndike, is facing a total of 9 charges including 2 counts of Armed Home Invasion (Dangerous Weapon), Armed Assault in Dwelling, Assault and Battery, Assault With Dangerous Weapon, Breaking and Entering Daytime (Felony), 2 counts of Malicious Damage to Motor Vehicle, and Malicious Destruction of Property over $250. 

The incident initially was reported to police as a man assaulting a resident with a knife prompting officers to respond to 4009 Pine Street in the Thorndike section of town. This was at around 11:45 a.m. Friday. 

As officers arrived on-scene, the man with the knife, allegedly Girouard, took off into a wooded area. Police then gave chase both from the air, with a State Police helicopter, and from the ground with K-9s. 

Palmer Public Schools, as well as Pathfinder Regional Schools were also put on lockdown as a precaution due to the nature of the incident, the proximity of the schools to the scene, and the suspect being on the run.

More 911 calls then came into police reporting that another person was armed with a gun and shots were fired. However, we have since learned from police that this person has been identified, that they did cooperate, and have not been charged or cited at this time. 

As far as the lockdown...officers were stationed at all schools during that time and a message sent out to families in the school district indicating that there a lockdown was in place due to "an incident" in town and that the students were safe.

On Friday, Western Mass News could see crowds of parents all over town, huddled waiting to pick their children up from school as police searched for the suspect.

Schools released students around 2:45 p.m.  But it would be several more hours before authorities would be able to complete their search. 

Girouard who allegedly matched the description of the suspect authorities were looking for, was taken into custody by officers with the Palmer Police Department just before 6 p.m. Friday.  

He's currently being held at the Hampden County Jail in Ludlow, according to police. No injuries have been reported by the Palmer Police Department in connection with this whole situation.

Stay with Western Mass News online and on-air for the latest, As more details emerge we'll provide an update.  

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